It’s time to chow down on a few eats off the midway

Published on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 23:36 - Written by WILL KNOUS Special to the Tyler Morning Telegraph

The words “Fair Food” can conjure a vast array of images in an East Texan’s mind. Some folks might think of giant turkey legs. Some might be more interested in sampling the barbecue.

Maybe you’ve got a sweet tooth, and the only thing that can satisfy it is a funnel cake — fried crisp with a mound of powdered sugar on top.

Fantastically, though, that’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg, because there is something for every taste at the East Texas State Fair.

If you’re in the mood for sweets and treats, a perfectly cooked steak, homemade sodas or even a fried Twinkie, there is a vendor that’s just waiting for you.

Of course, everyone knows that when you come out to the fair to spend the day, there are dozens of options for eating.

If you’re out for the afternoon to catch a few shows or brave some carnival rides, it’s easy to walk over and grab a snack.

However, there are a lot of people who make a special point each year to visit the fair for lunch.

The East Texas State Fair offers a break from the same old lunchtime standards and gives coworkers a chance to get out of the office and into the fresh air and sunshine.

That same old turkey sandwich you’ve been eating for a week looks pretty dull when compared to a giant turkey leg fresh off the smoker, enjoyed sitting outside on a picnic table with friends, a cold glass of fresh lemonade in hand.

Mitzi Hildreth, who works at a local law firm, tries to come to the fair for lunch every year, either with friends or coworkers.

“I just love being outside as the weather in East Texas is getting better, and the atmosphere is so festive and fun,” she said. “It’s great to be able to come out and enjoy the food with friends or coworkers, and it’s something to look forward to each year.”

Ms. Hildreth is a fan of the barbecue-and-lemonade combo but will sneak in some funnel cake or a slice of the homemade pies from the pie women of the Trinity Lutheran Church if she gets an opportunity.

“Grabbing lunch at the fair is always a fun time, and it reminds me that the cooler weather is on the way, too,” she said. “Plus, when we come back with the whole family, my kids love it, too.”

Ms. Hildreth said the funnel cakes and sausage-on-a-stick are a big hit with the 10-year-old twins and her 8-year-old.

But taking our word for it would be a serious mistake — not because we’re wrong but because you’ve simply got to get out there and try it for yourself.

You can test the limits of your taste buds with a fried Snickers bar or go the classic route with cotton candy.

If things warm up, you can stay cool with the Texas Twister (a freshly made fruit juice concoction) or, if things get a bit cooler, warm up with some roasted corn on the cob and a footlong corndog.

Whatever you choose, you’ll have a great time at the East Texas Fair, and you’ll have a great meal to boot.

Will Knous is handling publicity for this year’s fair.